Here I am outside the home of Sir Robert Mayer, a financier, philanthropist and lover of music. His wealth was matched by his generosity of time and spirit. Generations of British youngsters, including Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles were first acquainted with classical music through the concerts that Sir Robert and his first wife started in 1923. Queen Elizabeth was just six when she first went to her first Robert Mayer concert and Prince Charles was 4
He was born in Germany and was precocious on the piano, giving his first public recital at just 8. Though music was seemingly his future path his parents insisted he go into business and they dispatched him to a bank in London when he was 17. He must have liked British life as he became an UK citizen at 23. Though he made a fortune as a metal merchant (mainly copper) music was always his abiding love.
He married the soprano Dorothy Moulton aged 40 and it was at this age when he was on a trip to New York at a concert he had what he said was ''the experience that changed my life.'' He was profoundly moved when he and his wife attended one of a series of Saturday-morning children's concerts designed to fire young people’s minds. They returned to England to replicate this creating The Robert Mayer Concerts for Children. These classes and concerts showed youngsters how instruments worked and how, in unison, they created the magic only know to human world and not the animal world (music.)
The Royal Society Of Arts gave Robert a well-deserved nod awarding him the Albert Medal for promoting music and inviting thousands of young people into the realm of classical music.
When he was 60 he was knighted by King George VI for the time and money he’d given to the music world.
His first wife died but he married again at 100 years old. He died aged 105 in flat 31 in the mansion block where they lived. He left a widow, son and daughter and lots of people who may never had got into classical music.
This 5-storey Grade II listed mansion block was also a filming location. Many outside scenes of Bertie’s home “Berkeley Mansions” were filmed for the Jeeves & Wooster series featuring Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry. Apartments are for sale from £1.3 to £3.8 million at the time of writing.